We miss our large loud cat who peed on my stuff every chance he got.

Squeaky
Squeaky the cat from a couple of years ago



Kate and I woke up this morning to a thumping, tumbling noise that usually means that Squeaky has cornered a mouse, but then we heard some yowling that definitely wasn’t “check me out, I got a mouse” yowling. Things got rapidly worse — we realized that his hind legs weren’t working, and the noise we heard was him falling off the arm of the sofa.

We put him in his carrier as quick as we could, got him to the emergency vet clinic. It was what we thought — Squeaky has had a heart murmur for the seven years he’s lived with us, and he had congestive heart failure, plus a blood clot in his hind legs, and was in a lot of pain. So we petted him while they gave him the drugs while he was struggling and yowling, and then he froze and made what I am sad to report was a “bill the cat” face. Poor guy. But he relaxed soon after that, and now he’s gone.

ELEVEN FACTS ABOUT SQUEAKY THE CAT:

  1. We got him from a shelter in October of 2000. We briefly considered another extremely extroverted cat, but then Squeaky, who was shy, climbed right into Kate’s lap, clearly choosing her.
  2. Squeaky was the size of a young puma. At the shelter, they said he was “two”, which I guess means “I dunno, he’s grown up.” The vet later said he was six or seven when we got him.
  3. Our vet, who is clearly a dog person, always seemed to treat Squeaky like an honorary dog on account of his size. “He’s a big one, isn’t he?”, she’d say admiringly.
  4. He was kind of dandruffy on his rump where he had a hard time cleaning himself.
  5. The name they gave him at the shelter was “Willy Winkie”, or something equally horrible. He had been at the shelter a few months, suffering under that GODAWFUL name. We tried to name him “Hugo”, but he renamed himself soon afterwards to “Squeaky” on account of his loud, high-pitched and persistent Aaron Neville meow.
  6. He liked very much to sit on Kate’s lap, but he would hardly ever ever sit in anyone else’s lap.
  7. We had to promise when we got him that he would be forever and always an indoor cat. He escaped three times. Each time, he made a lap around the house, and then slunk somewhat apologetically and with relief back through the front door. We think he was okay with the “indoor cat” arrangement.
  8. Given a chance, he would pee on my things, but he never ever peed on anyone else’s stuff. Things of mine that Squeaky has peed in/on: two jackets, a sweater, a sleeping bag, my workbench, and two suitcases (one with my suit in it.) I did not discover that last one until I arrived at my destination on a business trip.
  9. If I spent a night away from home, Squeaky would sleep on my side of the bed.
  10. I fed him three-fifths of a yogurt cup of cat food every night, and changed his water. I scooped his litter, and gave him fresh litter every two weeks. Yet he still continued to pee on my stuff.
  11. We had him cremated, after we realized that digging a Squeaky-sized hole in the back yard in February would be a Herculean job

So long, Squeakers. I already miss you.

We miss our large loud cat who peed on my stuff every chance he got.

The good news is we’re warm. The bad news is we’re dry.

The new furnace is hooked up, the heat’s back on, and the house is warm. Hurrah! So now I have to point the camera at the other corner of the basement:

Mysterious flooding in the other side of the basement P1070372.JPG

In July 2004, I described some problems with the house we had bought, including…

"…a rusted water service coupling BELOW the main shutoff valve. That coupling made a strong plumber turn pale, tiptoe slowly to his van, and roll slowly and carefully away, not starting the engine until he was a quarter-mile from the house. "Sweet Jesus, I was just two days from retirement!"

Well, three and a half years later and our time is up. When I came home, the connection was leaking copiously BELOW the main water shutoff in our house — which means that the water had to be turned off at the street. Dan, our head plumber from Swisher, came out with his son after dinner and turned our water off at the curb, using a long T-handled thing called a “curb key.” So we don’t have any more babbling brooks flowing into our basement… but we don’t have any water, either.

The service coupling was just a few molecules away from rupturing this whole time, so maybe the vibration of putting in new furnace pies did it. Or the stress of an unheated house overnight. Or maybe, you know what? MAYBE THE CAT DID IT FOR REVENGE. Anyhow, it’s time to replace all the pipe between our basement and the street.

All things considered, this is a pretty good time for this to happen — we knew it was gonna go SOMEtime, and so it went now while there’s a crowd of fellows all ramped up on the layout of our basement. And when you’ve got two spare houses full of grandparents on the street, we’ve got NOTHING to complain about. I am a little nervous about the prospect of backhoe-ing out the hill in front of our house. Gulp!

The good news is we’re warm. The bad news is we’re dry.

It doesn’t look that clean in person

Basement (before)Basement (During)

The first thing our plumber did when walking into the basement of our house three years ago was enjoy a hearty laugh at our thirty-five-year-old natural-gas furnace. It seemed to bring him genuine joy and delight, like maybe if you went over to a friend’s house and found that all their heat came from a gigantic Rapa Nui monolith in the basement.
Anyhow, “Replace Furnace” has finally come up on our to-do list, so I took a before (left, yesterday morning) and during (right, yesterday evening) picture. We spent last night at Kate’s mom’s house. The fellows are still hooking it up. Our cat is planning Dire Revenge.

It doesn’t look that clean in person

Stylish greetings from THE PAAAAAST

I just this moment got the following email from a very decent fellow named Doug Patteson:
"John:
I am part of the 316th FS Foundation, and I do a bunch of historical research on all three Squadrons with in the 324th Fighter Group. I came across your web page on a Google search and pulled this photo for you from our album, which I assume you have seen, but am forwarding in the event you have not. I believe this is your grandfather."
Group Headquarters, 324th Fighter Squadron
It sure is! "Slim" Young is there in the front, looking suitably suave in what appears to be a WHITE SILK ASCOT. Damn. Also: “Hell’s Belles”? Best. Fighter squadron name. EVER. How can a fellow compete with that?
My grand-dad had awesome stories about almost getting lost between tents in North Africa during a sandstorm, and about how after the war, when they were in France awaiting demobilization, they had their hands full keeping the pilots from hot-dogging by flying UNDER the bridges on the Seine. All that, plus a white ascot. Sheesh.
If you want, you can read about JRY’s dad, my great-grandfather, the even-skinnier General Charles Duncanson Young and his runaway spaniel Moppet.

Stylish greetings from THE PAAAAAST